Trading Computation for Communication: Distributed Stochastic Dual Coordinate Ascent

Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 26 (NIPS 2013)

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Tianbao Yang


We present and study a distributed optimization algorithm by employing a stochastic dual coordinate ascent method. Stochastic dual coordinate ascent methods enjoy strong theoretical guarantees and often have better performances than stochastic gradient descent methods in optimizing regularized loss minimization problems. It still lacks of efforts in studying them in a distributed framework. We make a progress along the line by presenting a distributed stochastic dual coordinate ascent algorithm in a star network, with an analysis of the tradeoff between computation and communication. We verify our analysis by experiments on real data sets. Moreover, we compare the proposed algorithm with distributed stochastic gradient descent methods and distributed alternating direction methods of multipliers for optimizing SVMs in the same distributed framework, and observe competitive performances.